(ORDO NEWS) — The wreckage of a Chinese missile was found in the sea off the coast of two provinces of the Philippines.
The country’s space agency is pushing Manila to ratify UN conventions that allow people to seek compensation for damage or injury sustained as a result of space launches.
The Philippine Space Agency said metal debris found this week off the island of Busuanga in western Palawan and in the city of Kalintaan in western Mindoro province were highly likely parts of a Chinese Long March 5-B rocket launched last week from the Wenchang Space Center on island of Hainan.
The rocket carried a laboratory module for the Chinese space research station.
The Philippine Space Agency said its experts examined photographs of the wreckage, including one showing what appeared to be part of a Chinese flag.
The booster was expected to hit about 72 kilometers from Scarborough Shoal, but there were no reports of any debris being found in the area, the space agency said.
The agency recommended that authorities be immediately informed of any discovery of suspected missile parts and forbade citizens to retrieve them from the water themselves.
Debris from past Chinese missile launches has also fallen into Philippine waters.
The country’s space agency said it was making urgent efforts to expedite the Philippines’ ratification of UN conventions that provide a legal basis for people to claim compensation for damage or injury “that is caused by another nation’s space object.”
Parts of a rocket that are detached prior to spacewalk are designed to fall back into the sea shortly after launch.
While such debris is unlikely to hit land or populated areas in the Philippines, it still poses a significant threat to ships, aircraft and fishing boats, the agency said.
China has been criticized before for allowing rocket stages to fall uncontrollably to Earth. Last year, NASA accused Beijing of “failing to meet responsible space debris standards” after parts of a Chinese rocket fell into the Indian Ocean.
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